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Extended Audio Sample When It Happens to You: A Novel in Stories, by Molly Ringwald Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,963 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Molly Ringwald Narrator: Molly Ringwald Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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When it happens to you, you will be surprised. That thing they say about how you knew all the time but just weren’t facing it? That might be the case, but nevertheless, there you will be.

Molly Ringwald mines the complexities of modern relationships in this gripping and nuanced collection of interlinked stories. Writing with a deep compassion for human imperfection, Ringwald follows a Los Angeles family and their friends and neighbors while they negotiate the hazardous terrain of everyday life—revealing the deceptions, heartbreak, and vulnerability familiar to us all.

In “The Harvest Moon,” a stay-at-home mom grapples with age, infertility, and an increasingly distant husband. In “Ursa Minor,” a former children’s television star tries to rebuild his life after being hospitalized for “exhaustion.” An elderly woman mourns the loss of her husband and her estranged relationship with her daughter in “The Little One.” In “My Olivia,” a single mother finds untapped reserves of strength to protect her flamboyant six-year-old son who wishes only to wear dresses and be addressed as Olivia. And in the devastating title story, a betrayed wife chronicles her pain and alienation, leading to an eviscerating denouement.

As the lives of these characters converge and diverge in unexpected ways, Ringwald reveals a startling eye for the universality of loss, love, and the search for connection. An unflinching yet poignant examination of the intricacies of the human heart, When It Happens to You is an auspicious literary debut.

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Quotes & Awards

  • When It Happens to You is absolutely lovely, a smart, emotionally sophisticated, intricately dovetailed novel of stories. World, I’m telling you now: Molly Ringwald is the real deal.”

    Lauren Groff, New York Times bestselling author of Arcadia

  • “Molly Ringwald understands how families work and uses her considerable talents to make them come alive on the page.”

    Gary Shteyngart, New York Times bestselling author of Super Sad True Love Story

  • When It Happens to You is an inventive and compelling portrait of love in the modern age.”

    J. Courtney Sullivan, New York Times bestselling author of Maine 

  • “Molly Ringwald’s eight electric stories are alive with Joycean insight-piercing, epiphanic moments of terror, humor, and transcendence. Together they offer a deeply moving portrait of modern life.”

    Eleanor Henderson, New York Times bestselling author of Ten Thousand Saints

  • “This queen of 1980s teenage angst…puts betrayal center stage. And she does it in a way that’s as visceral as a girl’s disgust when everyone forgets her sixteenth birthday…A large part of what makes this novel-in-stories so enjoyable is its structure, the way the connections between characters unfold from piece to piece. Each story could stand on its own, but they fit together to reveal links among these family members, neighbors, and friends in Los Angeles…Ringwald weaves an emotional narrative that avoids getting bogged down in melodrama. With an economy of language, she keeps the story moving, taking readers inside characters’ heads without leaving them there too long. Ringwald’s storytelling succeeds as much on the page as her acting has done on screen.”

    Washington Post

  • “Any lingering Brat Pack associations you may bring to When It Happens to You, Molly Ringwald’s first novel, will rapidly evaporate. Ringwald renders the families and lovers in her intertwined stories with a compassionate eye for the kind of heartbreak that upends reality, as well as a keen sense of the more subtle ways in which trust breaks and mends. Each of her eight stories explores the dynamics of fidelity and betrayal.”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • “[A] graceful and deft debut.”

    Booklist

  • “Ringwald deftly weaves together the threads of these stories, creating a tapestry that captures the emotional landscape of both young and well-worn relationships…This is a beautiful exploration of how the heart’s irrational responses to love and betrayal can stand in the way of forgiveness.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “These stories sizzle with rare insight about the reverberations of betrayal and of love. Ringwald wisely never judges her characters, but lets them live out their complexities on the page, flawed and endearing, recognizable and also new. When It Happens to You is an impressive fiction debut.”

    Robin Black, author of If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This

  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month, August 2012
  • A Kirkus Reviews Top 25 Book, August 2012
  • An Amazon Top 100 Book of 2012
  • A 2013 Audie Award Finalist for Best Narration by an Author
  • A 2013 Audie® Award Finalist for Short Stories/Collections

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Kj | 2/9/2014

    " Thoroughly enjoyed this quick read. 80's nostalgia pushed me towards picking it up and I was delightfully Impressed with the quality of the writing. I actually gasped when I realized the book was over! I could have continued on reading about the intermingling lives of all of the characters. In fact, my only real criticism here is that I was left wanting to know more. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Mary Lou | 1/30/2014

    " by Molly Ringwald is a collection of stories about people whose lives are connected to two main characters. Set in contemporary times, the setting and characters seem very authentic, the latter developed enough to seem real. The issues include infidelity, parenting, trying to get pregnant, sexual orientation, grief, and aging. I was totally engrossed and will definitely read more by Ringwald. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Amanda | 1/27/2014

    " Interesting read, but I adore Molly. I have an autographed copy! :) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Amy Marbach | 1/25/2014

    " While I actually like the format of this book- I kept reading it hoping that the interconnected storylines would evolve just a little bit more. Still the stories read more like chapters in a dysfunctional and disjointed novel than separate stories. I also have some issues with the likability of some of the characters especially Greta. "

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